Thursday, March 31, 2016

83 Years

Today is an anniversary of sorts, at Guernsey State Park. It was 83 years ago today that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation that allowed the Civilian Conservation Corps to become a reality. All of the photos on today’s post are of things built by the CCC.
The CCC Worker Statue (one of 65 in America) gazes at the Museum

 Here is the way I told part of the story on the building of Guernsey State Park, in my book. Hit the link to go to my Amazon page and read a free sample. 
One month into his term, on March 31, 1933, Roosevelt got the CCC up and running. On that day, he signed into law, Public No. 5, after it had been passed by the Seventy-third Congress. His signature created what was then called the ECW or Emergency Conservation Works, it soon became the better known Civilian Conservation Corps.

It didn’t take long before American newspapers grabbed a hold of the CCC as smoothing that was going to be good for America. Throughout America newspapers referred to the beginnings of the CCC as, “Roosevelt’s Tree Army, “possibly because of the tree logo used by the CCC. What they did not realize at the time was that the Tree Army would go on to plant millions of trees, and become the largest planting movement in American History.
The 10 Stall Garage built by Camp BR-9
In his notes J.H. Coffman, Camp BR-9 Superintendent accounts for the planting of more than 500 trees in the park. Coffman’s Camp Br-9 was on the east side of the lake located between the Dam and the Museum. Today many of the trees around the museum and near the old golf course are trees planted by the CCC, who came to build the park in 1935.
The fabulous Sitting Bull Shelter Built by Camp BR-9

The Bureau of Reclamation built a dam on the North Platte River a mile north of Guernsey in the late 1920s. The reservoir would hold runoff water in the spring to be used downstream for summer irrigation. The Bureau also built a power plant below the dam that would supply hydroelectric power for the Guernsey and Fort Laramie area and other users down the valley. But it took the CCC to make this river lake into a park. Two camps, did the job, along with BR-9 was Camp BR-10 located at the western base of Mae West Hill. Camp Ten was responsible for much of the work on the west side, including the spectacular Skyline Drive.
The steps to Brimmer Point, high atop Powell Mountain and the park's highest
point. Built by the men of Camp BR-10 (the westside camp)

The Castle - Shot from Long Canyon

The Castle started by Camp BR-10 but finished by Camp BR-9

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Love the Snow

A nice quick-moving snow storm brought in some much-needed moisture. 

This little guy seems to be enjoying the weather

Snow makes everything look a little better.

My front yard this morning

Sounds like it will be mostly melted by tomorrow, but it was fun for a few hours.

Good spring rains or in this case snow will make for great wildflowers in the park
This photo was taken last year on the Brimmer Point Trail

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Below the Dam

One place I have always enjoyed in the park is easy to get to, but not often visited. That area is below the dam by the powerplant.
One day it was just the two of us enjoying the area below the dam

 Seldom is anyone there, except the occasional fisherman.
The Powerplant - Photo from Red Cliff Trail
There are restrooms and a nice shelter and picnic area but most often they are empty. Our favorite place is the bench near the spillway, especially when they are starting to let a lot of water downstream.
The entire area with gatehouse and spillway on right

Most visitors come to the lake, and this is the one and only area below the lake. We never stay long, ten or fifteen minutes are usually enough. Give it a try and enjoy the sound of the falls, yes falls,
The lower falls where the spillway pool tumbles into the North Platte River
there are two sets here, both small and stunning to look at.
Tiny but most impressive upper falls
Beautiful place to see history, the Gatehouse, and the Powerplant both pushing 100 years of age, both now a young looking 89, built with the dam by the Bureau of Reclamation. 
One of a kind - The Gatehouse

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lakeshore Drive on a Windy Day

Good to be Home

After nearly a week away from home, it’s nice to be back. We did have a nice time visiting with friends and family in southeast Nebraska.
I love to take photo's of old barns when we are in Nebraska
This one, I photoshopped a bit, to give it more of a cut-out look

On the park's east side

We had a beautiful drive, along Lakeshore Drive, this afternoon, it would have been evening, but with the time change, we were a bit early for the sunset – darn!
Along the road - Lakeshore Drive

Birds of a Feather

We did see, with the lake nearly full, more ducks and geese which I always find interesting. Wish I knew the names of every kind of duck and goose, but after Mallards and Canadian Geese, I am mostly lost. Still fun to watch them swim and fly on and around the lake.
With the sun low in the western sky, and the wind making the water rough,
 makes for great color and texture in this photo

Oh - Deer Me

We had hoped to do our east side deer count, but were, once again with the time change, about an hour early. We did see 13, not bad for more than an hour before sunset. 
One antler gone  and one to go

We will give it a sunset try soon, expect to see around 25.
Deer at play in the campground at Long Canyon

Wind and the Water

The wind was howling and the lake was choppy and interesting. Today did not look like a day to be on the water, but from the bank it was terrific. 
Rough Water

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Brimmer Point - Always Spectacular

Today we took a drive up to the observation area at Brimmer Point. This is a sure sign of spring as the road is closed during the winter.
Brimmer Point - Can you see it atop the mountain?

Brimmer Point and the road leading to this, the highest point in the park, were intended to be one of the highlights of Skyline Drive. The Point, setting at the top of Powell Mountain is named after an influential Cheyenne businessman who helped push legislation to build the park.
This is a shot of the Point with a little more zoom

 Brimmer Point features a prairie style sandstone viewing area. Built up twenty feet above the parking lot the viewing level is reached by a beautifully made set of curving stone steps leading to an observation platform.

The Civilian Conservation Corps built steps and the viewing area blend into the landscape almost unnoticed by the casual observer.
Observation/view deck

The road to Brimmer Point is a marvel of engineering itself. Climbing and winding up Powell Mountain and at one point curving down through a deep valley. It is a slow but breathtaking drive. In places, the drive can be heart thumping with views straight down the side of the mountain.
The terrific road to Brimmer Point

Two most innovative construction techniques were used on Brimmer Point. The chain-link fencing holding back sightseers from the sheer cliff drop-offs was one of the first uses of this new type of fencing in an American Park.

 Each post and rail were numbered and labeled before shipping. The CCC workers put it in place by following the number of each piece.
Unbelievable, but they are still there - the originals.
Labeled, National Park Service and Guernsey Wyoming

And the reason for driving up to the Point? Oh, it's the view, all about the view.
Yep, pretty nice

Most of this blog post is an excerpt from my book about the CCC and the building of Guernsey State Park.
Click here to read a free sample

The book was very successful last year selling around the state and everywhere else through online sellers such as Amazon, and Barns and Noble and many others.

I hope the book continues to do well in the next few years. It is available in both eBook and as a good looking softcover. It sure would look great on your desk of the coffee table. In the next few weeks, I am already late, I will be publishing my sixth book, another historical mystery, set in and around Fort Laramie. 
Here I am at Fur Trade Days at Fort Laramie - where I find much of the inspiration
it takes to write fiction of the old west

 You can find the first five, here on Amazon – thanks for looking.
 You can find the first five, here